Omega 3 Vs Omega 6

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Omega 3 Vs Omega 6

The Omega 3 Vs Omega 6 ratio matters.

Synthesis of the longer omega 3 fatty acids from linolenic acid within the body is competitively slowed by omega 6 fatty acids. Thus accumulation of long-chain omega 3 fatty acids in tissues is more effective when they are obtained directly from food or when competing amounts of omega 6 do not greatly exceed the amounts of omega 3.

In children a small amount of omega 3 in the diet (~1% of total calories) enabled normal growth, and increasing the amount had little to no additional effect on growth. Likewise, researchers found that omega 6 fatty acids (such as γ-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid) play a similar role in normal growth.  However, they also found that omega 6 was “better” at supporting dermal integrity, renal function, and parturition.

Both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are essential. humans must consume them in their diet. Omega 3 and omega 6 compete for the same metabolic enzymes, thus the omega 6:omega 3 ratio will significantly alter the body’s metabolic function.[1] This necessitates that omega 3 and omega 6 be consumed in a balanced proportion.

Healthy ratios of omega 6:omega 3 range from 1:1 to 4:1.[2][3] Studies suggest that the evolutionary human diet, rich in game animals, seafood and other sources of omega 3, may have provided such a ratio.[4][5]

Typical Western diets provide ratios of between 10:1 and 30:1 ( i.e. dramatically skewed toward omega 6).[6] Here are the ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids in some common oils:

canola 2:1
soybean 7:1
olive 3–13:1
sunflower (no omega)
flax 1:3[7]
cottonseed (almost no omega)
peanut (no omega)
grape seed oil (almost no omega)
corn oil 46 to 1[8]

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